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French clitics and cognition

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  1. French clitics and cognition Dick Hudson Oxford, November 2012

  2. Plan • Cognition in Word Grammar • Clitics in Word Grammar • French clitics • Conclusions

  3. 1. Cognition in Word Grammar • Language is part of cognition • both competence and performance. • All of general ability is available • so let's assume language can use it all. • Maybe language needs nothing else? • This is a question for research. • So what does general cognition offer?

  4. General cognition cat • A variety of units: • concepts, e.g. 'cat' • percepts, e.g. cat purring • motor-programs, e.g. how to stroke • feelings, e.g. liking for cats • A network structure • linking units • defining concepts

  5. Networks and activation • The brain is a 'neural' network • which carries activation. • The mind is a 'mental' network • built on the neural network • and therefore affected by activation. • But the mental network has special properties too.


  6. The mental network flier • Nodes are classified in 'is-a' hierarchies • Properties are links to other nodes. • All links are classified. • These hierarchies allow generalisations • so a token X inherits properties by default flying bird is-a robin X

  7. 1 Default inheritance flier # flying bird • Penguins are birds. • A typical bird flies. • flying is expected • quantity (#) = 1 • But for penguins, there's no flying • # = 0 • i.e. They don't fly. • So X doesn't fly. 0 # penguin 0 # X

  8. Types of link in cognitive networks • Basic (?innate?) links • is-a (classification) • quantity (how many? true/false?) • identity (binding – more later) • argument, value • Relational concepts • in an is-a hierarchy • e.g. 'flier' is-a 'actor' argument value # = actor flier

  9. Binding • To 'find' a node, bind it to another one. • Q. Who is John? A. He's the cook. • Follows activation: • choose the most active candidate. = ? John cook

  10. Limitless cognitive networks • Limitless creation of relations as needed • e.g. for kinship • Limitless creation of properties as needed • e.g. for people • Limitless exceptionality as needed • e.g. for birds • Limitless binding as needed

  11. 2. Clitics in Word Grammar form • By default, a word is realized by a word-form. • But a clitic is realized by an affix. • Default inheritance allows this. realization word-form word clitic affix

  12. Default morphology realization • Base is-a realization. • Top is-a realization. • Top is fully inflected. • By default, Base = Top. • But for inflections: • Top is a 'variant' of Base. top word word-form base variant inflection

  13. second part s-variant Affixes and hosts 1 'he/she will be loved' { } • By default, an affix has a host • the wordform it defines. • Every affix has a position within its host • at least as prefix or suffix • but the position may be defined by a template • e.g. Latin am-a-b-i-t-ur host { } {s} 2 fourth part { } 1 { } 2 { } 3 { } { } 4 5 host 1 2 3 4 5 6 { } {ur} 6

  14. Clitics and hostforms top • A clitic is fully realized by an affix. • The affix needs a host. • So the host is a special 'hostform'. • Maybe this inherits a template structure from inflections? • special clitics always combine with complex morphology? clitic affix part host e.g. third part hostform wordform

  15. John is/'s late. JOHN BE,3sg LATE JOHN BE,3sg, clitic LATE realization realization {late} {i-z} {John} {late} {z} {John} host part 1 Bound to realization of previous word. part 2 {John-z} hostform

  16. The entry for {z} form • {z} is-a suffix. • So it has a host. • Its host is-a hostform • whose part2 it is • and part1is bound to the preceding wordform. suffix hostform host {z} 2 1 next =

  17. Summary of apparatus • Rich relations • realization • host • part 1/2/… • Forms • hostforms • Default inheritance • Activation • Binding

  18. clitics underlined 3. French clitics • Je ne me les y ai pas mis. I not for-me them there have not put. • Clitics combine in an order which is • rigidly fixed • different from full NPs: • J'ai mis les lettres sur la table. I have put the letters on the table

  19. The football team

  20. The challenges of French clitics A. Positive imperatives: Verb + clitics. Donnez-le-moi! (*Me le donnez!) "Give it to me!" B. Only one per column. *Je te me présenterai. "I'll introduce myself to you" C. *3 + 5 (*1/2/ref + 3 ind) *Je me lui présenterai."I'll introduce myself to her." D. and …

  21. aux Clitic climbing • Je le lui donne. I give him it. • Je ai donné. I have given him it. le lui 'make' • Je te ferai manger.I'll make you eat it. le 'let', 'send' or perception • Je te laisserai le manger.I'll let you eat it. Or … le • Je te laisserai manger.I'll let you eat it.

  22. Classifying clitics • Clitics are classified. • 'subj', 'neg', etc. • One item per class. • '1/2/ref' is-a 'obj' • so *me lui • and Donnez-le-moi • = Donnez-le-lui clitic subj en ne y obj 3dir 1/2/ref

  23. Adding hostforms • Each clitic brings its own hostform. • Each clitic class has a position. • Each verb also has its own hostform. • Hostforms bind together. imperative 3dir <4 host 4 host hostform hostform = ?

  24. Give it to me! Classifying hostforms • Positive imperatives have ordinary order. • Compare: • Donnez-le-moi • Donnez le livre à Jean! • But other verbs are different… imperative y en en obj 3dir 3dir <4 host 6 4 5 7 hostform1 hostform2 Give the book to John!

  25. The paradoxes • Positive imperatives are exceptional verbs, • but they have default hostforms. • Why? • Order shows function (direct/indirect) in hostform1, • but person in hostform2. • Why? imperative verb <4 host >7 host hostform1 hostform2 4 5 7 1 3 2 obj 3dir en neg 1/2/ref subj

  26. Why positive imperatives? Why do positive imperatives have default order? • Because they don't include subjects and negatives. • subjects contrast before/after verb. • negatives contrast ne ….. pas. • So subj and neg drag hostword1 before the verb.

  27. Why function > person? • Pos imperatives: Donnez-le-moi/lui! • follows non-clitic order: Donnez le livreà Jean! • Others: Il mele donne ~ Il lelui donne • follows semantic link to subject: • reflexive > non-reflexive • also animacy hierarchy: • 1 > 2 > 3

  28. How do clitics climb? = hf hf • Each clitic brings a hostform. • But so does each clitic-available verb. • Then the various hostforms merge. host host Je les mange. I them eat = hf hf host host Je les fais manger. I them make eat

  29. Binding again = • Binding in parsing, • and in semantics, • and in clitic climbing. referent referent He hurt himself. = subj = host host Je les ai mangés.

  30. 4.Conclusions • French clitics require only: • default inheritance • binding • unlimited relations • All these tools are available in general cognition. • So clitics are ordinary cognition.

  31. Thank you • This show is available at www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/talks.htm